December 2020


I’m flat out broke for the month, already.

I realize it’s only August 9th, but I’m already out of money for the month because I’ve moved.

Because I had to move twice (first into a temporary apartment and then into my real apartment) I ended up spending a lot more than I previously allotted for moving—neither move, individually was expensive: Think fifth floor DG apartment with a narrow staircase and a tiny elevator, then Weimar to Berlin and into a storage unit: 780€. The second move was from that storage unit to my current apartment, about 4km, third floor (German counting), no elevator, 500€.

Keep in mind I have two sofas, two ottomans, a glass dining room table, a wardrobe (ca 2x1x1 meter), a couple of book cases, three boxes of books, and a whole lot of other crap. I gave tips to both sets of movers – carrying furniture up and down stairs is something I cannot begin to do.

At the same time, I’ve also purchased a used washing and drying machine (225€) and a fridge. The fridge was annoying because I thought that I was going to buy the fridge from the previous occupant for 150€, but there was no fridge, so I bought a new one (210€)—I probably paid too much for the new one, but it was delivered by the same people who delivered the washer/dryer, which meant one delivery time.

Now the strange thing is that I made it through my first six years in Germany without needing to buy light fixtures. My old apartment in Weimar was in the attic and although I could have installed lights, in the places I had wires to do so I could never figure out what I would install that would make sense. It was all floor lighting or otherwise preinstalled.

However now that I’ve moved into a bog-standard Berlin apartment, I need lights for the hallway and kitchen—plus for decorating purposes I need one to go over my dining room table. This has meant that I’ve spent a lot of time looking at light fixtures—and trust me when I say that light fixture departments plus me equals sweat, sweat, and more sweat.

So far I’ve bought two light fixtures: the light for my hallway, a five bulb along an arm thingy that should let me spotlight things that I put in the hallway—unfortunately I had to buy 6 bulbs (packages of two) for it: 35€ for the fixture, 30€ for the eco-bulbs. For the kitchen I bought an adjustable hanging halogen lamp that has four lights on it—I like this idea so that if one burns out I can still see in the kitchen—the bulbs for this one were relatively inexpensive making it 40€ for the fixture and 4€ for the bulbs.

I’m pretty sure I know which light fixture I want for over my dining room table, and that’s Saturday’s trip to Ikea with my handyman. I know which thing I want – it’s a black metal thing that should match my dining room table nicely and it includes both lights and candles, although I’m not sure I would ever light the candles. That said I just got a 10% off coupon in the mail from Obi, so I might head over there tomorrow after work to see if they have anything I want.

Ikea is where I am going to get my curtains. I’m going with my handyman since he’s a hardware expert and I want dual layer curtains—one sheer, one able to block sunlight. This is for the bedroom and living room. I’m not sure what to do about the kitchen yet.

Oh yeah, and I shouldn’t forget that I needed to pay the deposit for my apartment which was a lot more than I anticipated (for reasons I won’t go into here, but none are directly my fault), and my first month’s rent.

Needless to say this month I am eating only from the grocery store and only going places within Berlin’s AB zones.

9 comments to I’m flat out broke for the month, already.

  • Ah, but next month will be better! I always hate August because we end up running on fumes (The Coach is prepaid for July and the first two weeks of August and we have to make it last). This year was especially bad because we’ve had tons of car repairs (enough to make us cancel our trip to New York), plus the floor tragedy, plus I had to finish paying off the ‘fridge that died last summer before my zero payments, zero interest deal ended. Sigh.

  • I find it odd and unsettling that German apartments come without light fixtures, or, as you have mentioned, kitchens. That would just make it impossible to move anywhere. Seems to make things unnecessarily stressful.
    Most Norwegian flats come with all the kitchen ‘white goods’ +w/d. . And, of course, light fixtures. Curtains, frequently, too, I’ve discovered. At least in my case.

  • Having just shifted from Australia about a year ago, I also went through the renting circus. I cannot how much cash is needed to rent a house. 6mths rent is required just to rent, and the rest of the money went into lights, curtains, kitchen, utility bills, flooring etc. The list just keeps going…
    I am glad that it is slowly working out for you.

  • Pictures. We need pictures!

  • Bulbs and candles. You’re so gay.

  • Prashanth

    Obi wan Kanobi is selling light fixtures now??…I told you…it’s all climate change!..sehr schade 🙁

  • disenchanted – I can imagine that its tough with the Coach’s salary timing. For me it won’t be a problem in the future, I just have such a huge number of things I need to buy — I never needed these other things in my Weimar apartment.

    Karla – The kitchen thing is insane. I’m lucky in that both my Weimar apartment and my Berlin apartment had/have built in kitchens. Honestly though, I’ve looked at a lot of apartments and kitchens from one would not very often fit in kitchens from another. Maybe the cabinets, but the counters? Forget it. You need new counters every time.

    tehnyit – I didn’t need 6 months rent, but my deposit was higher than I expected as it was 3 warm not 3 cold rents.

    Cynical Queer – I gave you pictures of the light fixture locations…

    headbang8 – I know…. what a freak I am!

    Prashanth – I was very disappointed in Obi wan Kanobi’s offerings. I went all the way over to the store and came back with nothing. Blah!

  • Dunno if Berlin has the green space Hamburg does, but if you’re going hungry, Adam, think if the season: it’s blackberry time! I’ve picked gallons of ’em over the past two weeks. Fresh fruit free – can ya beat that?

    • Free fruit is great… and I have to say that fruit, in general, costs a lot less than most of the alternatives, even if you’re paying for it.